One by-product of a strong economy is more employment, but the increased activity usually results in more workplace injuries.
That's because there are more inexperienced people on worksites and when a company is busy and there is more activity, the chances of an incident occurring also increase. This is especially the case in manual labor environments from production facilities, warehousing and logistics to construction and other trades.
The September USG + U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index found that 80% of contractors said that the skilled labor shortage is affecting jobsite safety and it's the number one factor increasing safety risk on the jobsite.
As business activity grows and the job market tightens, many companies are forced to hire more inexperienced workers who are not skilled at understanding all safety hazards.
Experienced personnel have the know-how to identify workplace hazards and understand the safety protocols for all aspects of their work. While training can help new hires, nothing beats experience.
Additionally, with many businesses working hard to fulfill orders, workplaces are busier, which can cause some workers to cut corners or take risks. Amidst all that hustle and bustle and people moving quickly, the speed and activity can also contribute to accidents in the workplace. If employees are working overtime, they may also be tired and fatigued, which can contribute to poor judgment and workplace incidents.
One other issue that's affecting workplace safety is opioid addiction. Not only that, but more states are legalizing recreational marijuana and nearly 40 states have medical marijuana laws on the books.
According to the USG +U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index, construction employers are concerned about worker addition, reporting:
The report showed that while nearly two-thirds of contractors have strategies in place to reduce the safety risks presented by alcohol (62%) and marijuana (61%), only half have strategies to address their top substance of concern: opioids, which is a growing issue.
What you can do
In this environment of labor shortages and high competition for workers, employers should focus on:
Tackling substance abuse safety risks
The top strategies employers are using to reduce safety risks caused by substance abuse include:
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